News | March 8, 2019

DoD program helps DLA share knowledge, talent with industry

By Dianne Ryder DLA Public Affairs

The Defense Logistics Agency continues to invest in innovative programs that allow acquisition professionals to engage with and learn from industry partners. One of those programs is a one-for-one talent exchange that’s sponsored by the Department of Defense’s Human Capital Initiatives.

Brian McGinley, a supervisor in DLA Troop Support’s Post Award Division for industrial hardware, became one of the first DLA employees to participate when he began a six-month career-development program with Deloitte LLP in Rosslyn, Virginia, in January. Deloitte specializes in consulting services to help clients navigate strategic, financial, operational, cyber, and regulatory risks and opportunities.

“What makes this program different is it’s one of the few times civilians have been offered the opportunity to go from DoD to commercial companies,” he said. “Career-wise, I felt this was a good opportunity to step out of what I had been doing for most of my career and … see things from another perspective.”

The program focuses on career broadening opportunities rather than a specific job exchange, though the goal is for both DLA and Deloitte to benefit from knowledge sharing, he said.

McGinley, who has been with DLA for 14 years, was assigned to work on the Strategic Communications Plan of the Air Force Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness project. Two other DoD program participants work on separate projects.

“The people at Deloitte gave us a few names of people to meet up with. The meetings were initially one-on-one; and at some point they encouraged us to do our own thing,” he said. “Instead of doing these meetings individually, we’re doing them together.”

Conducting joint meetings saved time and allowed participants to interact and network with each other.

“We’re all from acquisition, but we don’t have the same exact experience, so we usually bring different ideas to the conversation,” he said. “It’s been a real help to have them here, especially in a company as big as Deloitte. We usually touch base with each other each day.”

Although DoD employees typically work in environments with established organizational hierarchy and clearly defined supervisory roles, Deloitte relies on counselors and coaches to guide performance. Another difference is Deloitte’s level of autonomy, in which employees work in virtual environments, including clients’ offices and are expected to “find work” rather than wait for it to be assigned.

The concept of “choosing work” isn’t something he can always employ at DLA, but when he returns to his regular job, McGinley said it’s something he plans to discuss with his employees so they’re doing work that strengthens and excites them.

“It’s not that one place is doing it perfectly. I think we all share some of the same issues with recruiting and retaining talent, finding that good balance with work and life,” he added.

Betty Hoapili, DLA chief of acquisition workforce development, believes the more acquisition professionals participate in DoD developmental programs, the more her team and Industry Initiatives Program Manager Bethanie Healey will be able to build a cadre of well-rounded leaders.

“It’s not only about sending people to these training opportunities; it’s figuring out how they can share what they learned with those who haven’t been fortunate enough to go yet,” she said. “I love these programs. They’re phenomenal opportunities. Frankly, I think people should be busting down our door with applications.”

McGinley noted the importance of sharing information in his current assignment as well as in his position at DLA.

“Instead of trying to find people who may have knowledge in certain areas, a better way of networking is offering up my experience and knowledge to other people,” he said. “This experience is the best of both worlds. I’m currently working for a world-class organization in the private sector and taking some of their best practices back to DLA, another world-class organization within the government, to apply those things that I’ve learned.”